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Superbug outbreak linked to eye drops from India

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One person died and dozens were infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in an outbreak linked to three types of eye drops manufactured by an Indian company, according to media reports.

Health officials said at least 52 people had been infected by the burkholderia cepacia bacteria, a superbug that can be fatal for people with weak immune systems.

The health authority had recalled three products manufactured by Indiana Ophthalmics in November when most cases had reportedly occurred.

They suspect that various batches of AaCarb, Aacomer and Puroptics branded carbomer eye gels were affected.

These products are given to patients suffering from dry eyes and are available online.

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According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the youngest victim was a baby, and the oldest a 91-year-old. There are six probable cases.

UKHSA said there were 25 cases of “clinically significant infections”, while 11 people suffered eye infections.

The majority of patients were administered these eye drops while being treated in hospitals for a separate issue.

UKHSA issued a national patient safety alert in December, advising all medics in the NHS to avoid using carbomer eye gels on high-risk patients.

Officials now believe the outbreak is over, but the situation is being monitored.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said it has now received assurance from manufacturers that products available in the UK market are safe.

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